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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 4;106(31):12587-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0906291106. Epub 2009 Jul 22.

Ultrasensitive detection of nitric oxide at 5.33 microm by using external cavity quantum cascade laser-based Faraday rotation spectroscopy.

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  • 1Rice Quantum Institute, Rice University, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005, USA.


A transportable prototype Faraday rotation spectroscopic system based on a tunable external cavity quantum cascade laser has been developed for ultrasensitive detection of nitric oxide (NO). A broadly tunable laser source allows targeting the optimum Q(3/2)(3/2) molecular transition at 1875.81 cm(-1) of the NO fundamental band. For an active optical path of 44 cm and 1-s lock-in time constant minimum NO detection limits (1sigma) of 4.3 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) and 0.38 ppbv are obtained by using a thermoelectrically cooled mercury-cadmium-telluride photodetector and liquid nitrogen-cooled indium-antimonide photodetector, respectively. Laboratory performance evaluation and results of continuous, unattended monitoring of atmospheric NO concentration levels are reported.

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